Alzheimer’s and Diet Therapy
صحة MAY 17, 2012
Definition of Alzheimer’s disease:
     -  Form of dementia
     -  Neurological disease characterized by severe loss of mental ability
     -  Usually occurs at old age
     -  Fourth leading cause of death (after heart disease, cancer, stroke)
     -  2 types:
          o Familial: autosomal dominant
          o Sporadic: unknown inheritance pattern.
Amyloid is a natural body protein which functions normally until age 45 when it changes into B-amyloid, involving amyloid precursor protein (APP), which becomes pathological when it comes in contact with toxic metals. The pathologic B-amyloid causes the nerves of the brain of Alzheimer’s patients to have breaks or cross links called neurofibrillary tangles which form a senile plaque and cause these nerves to crunch up and get detached from each other, also causing the synapse to be destroyed consequently loss of brain impulse.(2)
Symptoms begin gradually.
     -  Include 7 stages
            1- normal behavior
            2- minor memory lapse (forgetting car keys)
            3- confusion and loss of names (borderline stage which may not lead to AD)
            4- mild Alzheimer’s: inability to think rationally
            5- moderate Alzheimer’s: can’s remember names of close relatives
            6- moderately severe Alzheimer’s: inability to dress and take care of personal needs
            7- loss of speech and incontinence
            8- death
Risk Factors
     -  advanced age
     -  reduced testosterone levels
     -  Apo E genotype
     -  Head injury
     -  Poor CVD health (diabetes, smoking, HTN, high cholesterol)
     -  Exposure to light metals (particularly Aluminum, which is found in higher quantities in AD patients)
Risk reducers:
     -  Intellectual stimulation
     -  Regular physical activity
     -  Social interaction
     -  Mediterranean diet (fruits, vegetables, low in SFA)
     -  B vitamins
     -  Omega 3 FA (DHA)
     -  Vitamin E + vit C
     -  Cholesterol lowering drugs
     -  Long term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
The disease is incurable, treatment includes several factors:
     -  Social treatment: nursing care, physical and emotional support, home modifications(safety and security)
     -  Pharmacological treatment
     -  Dietary treatment: because of poor nutrition
     -  Chelation Therapy: intravenous infusion of amino acids to pull toxic heavy metals from body and to pull atherosclerotic plaques off arterial walls
Reasons for Management Nutrition Therapy
     -  Patients are usually malnourished.
     -  There’s weight loss because of increased energy expenditure, eating is neglected.
     -  Weight loss increases risk of infection, skin ulcers, and decreases quality of life.
     -  Unable to recognize feelings of hunger, satiety, thirst.
     -  Dehydration might be a problem in some cases.
     -  Should avoid distraction during mealtimes.
Dietary factors which seem to affect progression of Alzheimer’s
     -  Essential fatty acids (especially omega 3, DHA)
     -  Vitamin E
     -  Thiamine (for improve mental function)
     -  Acetyl-L-Carnitine (slows progression)
صحة MAY 17, 2012
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